USA Today, renowned for its sports section but underrated for its investigative reporting, has exposed the Drug Enforcement Agency’s culture of lawlessness (which Rep. Jason Chaffetz politely calls “a culture of protection”).  Here’s the piece by Brad Heath and Meghan Hoyer, which ran Sept. 27. The reporters used the Freedom of Information Act to get records of the DEA’s Professional Conduct Board, which recommends how derelict agents should be dealt with. Bottom line:

“Of the 50 employees the DEA’s Board of Professional Conduct recommended be fired following misconduct investigations opened since 2010, only 13 were actually terminated, the records show. And the drug agency was forced to take some of them back after a federal appeals board intervened.”

In one incident,

“the review board recommended that an employee be fired for ‘distribution of drugs,’ but a human resources official in charge of meting out discipline imposed a 14-day suspension instead. The log shows officials also opted not to fire employees who falsified official records, had an ‘improper association with a criminal element’ or misused government vehicles, sometimes after drinking.

“’If we conducted an investigation, and an employee actually got terminated, I was surprised,’ said Carl Pike, a former DEA internal affairs investigator. ‘I was truly, truly surprised. Like, wow, the system actually got this guy.'”

The DEA has 11,000 employees.  Do the American people really need a DEA? If Bernie retires them all at half-pay, we, the people, would save money and most of them would probably be happy to not have to show up every day and pretend to be doing something useful.  

Those of us growing up after World War Two were taught that one of the worst things about Germany and Russia was they had “secret police,” with networks of informers to expose citizens showing signs of disobedience.  I’m sure Bernie remembers.